BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

Unfazed By Grab, AirAsia Will Soon Join The Ride-Hailing Race In Malaysia

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Since the start of the pandemic, AirAsia has been venturing into various competitive sectors like food delivery, groceries delivery and even virtual idols for streaming activities, at a fast rate to cushion the blow. 

Now, Tony Fernandes announced that they will be diving into the ride-hailing scene, shared The Edge. While he’s yet to confirm the launch date of the service, he seems to be confident in this new venture, telling Malay Mail that he is unfazed by ride-hailing giants like Grab.

With a goal of becoming the Asean super app, it makes sense for AirAsia to go into the ride-hailing business. But while they’ve pretty much dominated the low-cost airline industry here, their other services in the app such as the two aforementioned ones still need some work before consumers would be confident enough to use their future ride-hailing one.

Optimising Their Other Services For Consumer Confidence First

It’s been almost a year since they launched their food delivery service, but having tested it myself, I’d say it still needs to be improved in many areas, if their end goal is to overtake Grab and foodpanda’s level of popularity.

Firstly, they need to work on incorporating more merchants in less central areas to increase their food delivery options. For someone like me who lives in Alam Damai, Cheras, most of their food categories like Halal, Healthy, Dessert, Vegetarian, etc., had less than 10 merchants.

On the other hand, my colleague who lives in PJ enjoyed more variety in options. With nearly a year of operations already behind them, it’d be nice to see some progress on expanding their reach across Malaysia.

If a lack of riders is behind why AirAsia Food’s accessibility is still low, then it is something they’d need to address before going into ride-hailing. Consumers would want the confidence that using their app means being able to actually get the service anytime, anywhere, be it for food and groceries deliveries or ride-hailing.

Seeing how AirAsia Food provides restaurant owners with a low 10% commission rate, we can expect that they’ll have similar incentives to attract drivers when they launch their ride-hailing.

However, the low commission rate for restaurants came at the cost of cutting out maps to track real-time locations of riders in the app, a convenient feature that consumers have come to expect as a norm.

If AirAsia plans to cut costs while providing attractive incentives for their drivers too, what would be the immediate effect on consumer convenience?

Still A Ways To Go From Being A Super App

Forgive me for bringing up such a first-world problem, but perhaps the fact that the app has a significantly slower loading time would matter to others like me.

Each time I click on a tab, it’d take around 2 seconds to load. It loses that smooth, “well oiled” feeling that other established apps like Grab or foodpanda offer. Another technical thing that bugged me was how sometimes when I clicked on a merchant, I’ll be directed to the app’s home page instead of the store’s page.

Not to mention, I also experienced troubles when trying to fill in my details to access AirAsia fresh and AirAsia Food, but that could simply be tied to its limited accessibility in my area.

For AirAsia to become a super app of choice for users, even the smallest inefficiencies or inconveniences on the app and its services would have to be ironed out. Consumers may be excited to try AirAsia’s newer services upon launch, but ensuring that they continue using them will require more improvements by the company.

Despite the limitations and technical difficulties that I’ve experienced with their app, I do think that they have the potential to grow their brand into the super app that they aspire to be. Them already being a household name will no doubt give them an extra boost in visibility and public interest too.

To add, Tony Fernandes pointed out, “I’ve got eight years of Grab doing it to learn from. I don’t have to waste all that money, with experimentation, building technology, training drivers and training the market how to order, they have done it all for me.”

In diversifying their revenue, some other ventures that are already in AirAsia’s pipeline include drone deliveries and air taxis in the near future.

  • You can read more AirAsia articles we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO / freepik

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